Liverpool have reportedly stepped up their interest in Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella. According to La Repubblica, the Reds are prepared to shell out €70 million for the 24-year-old Italy international.
Inter have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking to offload players to ease their financial woes. They have already parted with Achraf Hakimi and Barella could be the next player out the door.
Although the Inter hierarchy have promised new manager Simone Inzaghi that they will retain their top players, the right offer could tempt them to sell.
Nicolo Barella has developed into one of the finest midfielders in Serie A over the past couple of seasons. He has made 87 appearances for Inter since arriving from Cagliari in 2019.
The 24-year-old was instrumental in their run to the title last season, scoring three goals and providing nine assists. He also impressed in the Euros with Italy, recording two assists and scoring one goal.
At Liverpool, he would be the ideal replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum, who left for PSG after his contract expired in the summer. But the Reds could face stiff competition from Manchester United for Barella’s services.
Should Klopp go all out to sign Barella?
Liverpool are in dire need of midfield reinforcements following Wijnaldum’s departure. James Milner is on his last legs, while Naby Keita has struggled to live up to expectations following his arrival from RB Leipzig in 2018. Thiago failed to adapt to Liverpool’s style in his debut campaign last season, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been plagued by injuries.
Barella’s arrival would be a huge boost for Liverpool.
The 24-year-old is extremely good in possession, comfortable moving the ball in transition and solid defensively. Technically gifted, he has a keen eye for a pass and can break down the most stubborn defenses with his pinpoint through balls. He averaged over 50 passes a game in Serie A last season, as well as 1.3 key passes and 2.2 long balls.
He also has a great engine and can press quickly to win the ball back in advanced areas, making him an ideal fit for Klopp. Barella is also extremely versatile. He generally operates in a box-to-box role but he is just as capable of playing in a more advanced or defensive role.
Given the presence of Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho, Nicolo Barella might not be able to break into the first team immediately. Nevertheless, he is an exciting long-term prospect and at 24, is yet to enter his prime.